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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween in the United States

Happy Halloween!

Last year a wrote a post about the origins of Halloween from pagans to Christians with a mention of Ireland.  This year I did a little research about the history of Halloween in the United States.  Initially, I found remarks online that in the U.S. we adopted what they've been doing in Europe and the British Isles for hundreds of years.  Well, that's not the whole story.

In the early years of the United States, Halloween was not celebrated.  With mostly Protestants making up the Christian population of our country, Halloween was considered mainly a Catholic holiday and celebration at the time.  While early colonial America in places like Virginia and Maryland celebrated harvest, they did not take in the full aspects of Halloween.

Based on my quick research, it looks like you can point the finger at those Irish Catholic immigrants fleeing the potato famine for how we celebrate Halloween in the United States.   They brought Jack O'Lanterns with them and other "harvest" and "all hallows eve"  traditions with them.

By the 20th Century, the religious influence in Halloween was gone in the U.S.   It had become and still is a more of a secular holiday for all to celebrate.  We have parades, costumes, trick-or-treating, parties, and more.  The holiday is really aimed at children here in the U.S. at this point in time, but adults still have a lot of fun of their own.

I still recall as a child my own impression of Halloween.  I always thought of Sleepy Hallow and stories of the headless horseman.  Back East, Fall is so distinct, especially in New England.  It really lends itself to the Halloween theme.

So, "BOO!" to you all and Happy Halloween.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Bruns Girls of Napa

Quite a number of months ago, my aunt mentioned her aunt, and I suppose, my aunt too.  I never knew Aunt Della Vienop.  She was J.H. Vienop's first wife who passed away in 1956.

At the mention of Della and her death came out a quick anecdotal story about J.H.'s (Uncle Henry) second wife, Eva Cook Hunter.  She was apparently not the nicest person according to the family and was perceived as a bit of a gold digger at the time.  Uncle Henry was a successful contractor and businessman in Napa when he lost his first wife.

In came Eva and some unpleasant feelings from the family for sure.  My aunt wondered if Eva and Uncle Henry divorced or separated.  Eva ended up living further north in California the last part of her life.  I believe she actually lived in Scotia.  There was a time when my great grandmother, Mary Borchers, who was Uncle Henry's sister, and her friend were in the vicinity of Scotia.  Mary said that they should stop by to see her sister-in-law, Eva.  I guess her friend thought that was ridiculous yet it sounds like Mary got her way.  For whatever reason, Mary thought it appropriate to stop and see Eva.

Mary had a big heart and forgiveness was one her traits for sure.  She also was probably liked by Eva as Mary was liked by everyone.  I find this an interesting side story for my Vienop side of the family as information like this is not actually written down anywhere.  I am writing it down now.

My true goal with this post is to write about the Bruns sisters.  Adelheid Helena Bruns (Aunt Della) was married to John Henry Vienop, Jr. of Napa, California.  Her story along with her sister's starts earlier than this, however.

Adelheid Helena and Louise Marie Bruns were both born in Bethany, San Joaquin County, California in 1901 and 1902, respectively, about 21 months apart in age.  Based on census, there were older children too.  All of the older siblings were boys.

Home in 1900: Murray, Alameda, California

Household Members:
Name Age
John Brauns 43
Atilhiet Brauns 33
August H Brauns 8
John Brauns 7
Claus H Brauns 5
Detrick Brauns 3
Otto Brauns 6/1

As seen above, I actually found the family in the 1900 U.S. Census near this Bethany location.  This was before Della and Louise were born.  Knowing that the girls were born in a place called Bethany, California, I narrowed my search to anything that specifically indicated this place.  Two of the older brothers indicated on their military registrations later in life that they had been born in Bethany, San Joaquin County, California.  Bethany Reservoir near Tracy, California is what you can find on a map these days.  The census location in 1900 looks to be in Murray, Alameda County, California between Tracy and Livermore.

By 1910, they are all living in Napa, California with two more children (including Della and Louise) but their mother is no longer living and I don't find John, Jr.  By 1920, it looks like Louise is living with the Wentworth's as their maid and Della is living with the Deffners indicated as their daughter.  Their father, John Bruns, still lived in Napa with his son Harry (Claus).

You might ask how I know that I found the correct location of these young ladies.  Well, there's a story that goes along with this.

It seems definite that by 1910, John's wife had passed away leaving him with several children to care for.  He also needed to work by farming.  The men in the family seemed to have gone with him to work while the two youngest children who were girls remained at home.   By 1910, the girls were about seven and eight years old.  Left to their own devices, they were seen playing unsupervised and may have been getting themselves into a bit of trouble.

In a day were Napa was really starting to fill up with homesteads, families, and farmers, something like two girls running around unsupervised did not go unnoticed.  They also belonged to the local Lutheran Church.  As the story goes, each girl went to live with two different families in Napa.  By 1920, Della is with the Deffners and Louise is with the Wentworths.  It is even possible that Louise lived with the Deffners for a while too.  It is known that the girls were separated for a time.

I'm sure that the girls still saw their father and siblings.  What I find interesting is that Della is indicated as the daughter in the Deffner household in 1920 while Louise is indicated as the maid in the Wentworth household in 1920.  I'm sure that there are other details to this story but these are the basics.  I find it rather interesting.  You can almost piece the story together via U.S. Census source documents.

Anyway, the connection to my family is that Della went on to marry J.H. Vienop, Jr.  Louise went on to marry August Gruenhagen.  Louise Gruenhagen, as she was known from then forward, was one of my great grandmother's (Mary Vienop Borchers) closest friends.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Rerun Friday - Scotch-Irish

Back on January 27, 2011, I posted about the "Scotch-Irish".  My post back then seems a little confusing even to me so I've rewritten it.  I want to be as clear as possible with this terminology.'s my updated "Language Lesson" on the term Scotch-Irish with some other terms thrown in.

I'm just not fond of the term Scotch-Irish.  I see it used as a catch all phrase for any surname that could be considered Irish or Scottish.  It is especially common in the United States where so many people have no idea of their surname origins.  On many an occasion, people have asked me if my McGuire surname is Scottish.  My response to them is that I really don't think so.  It's a pretty definite Irish name.  The name is found around the world, however, and even in Scotland.  So is it Scotch-Irish?

The term Scotch-Irish is an American term that is not used in England, Ireland, or Scotland. Scotch-Irish actually refers to Irish Presbyterians and other Protestant dissenters from Ulster Province who immigrated to North America during the colonial years.  Most of the Scotch-Irish were descended from Scottish and English families who had been transplanted to Ireland during the 17th century.   This was known as the Plantation of Ulster.  Many of these "Ulster Scots", as they are referred to in Britain, had descendants who immigrated to America in the 18th and early 19th centuries.  They immigrated from Ireland and mainly to the Appallachian region of the U.S.

Much confusion stems from the use of this term even among those who deem themselves Scotch-Irish.  I think I can clear this up by reminding anyone who thinks of themselves as Scotch-Irish that this group of people were not Roman Catholic.  If you are Catholic and/or your Irish immigrant ancestors were, then you are highly likely not Scotch-Irish.  The more I read about this term, the more I realize that my McGuire's were not Scotch-Irish.  My Maxwell's, while they may have been part of the "Plantation", may be "Ulster Scots".  That's a big maybe on the Maxwell side by the way.

So where did the term "Scots-Irish" come from?  Well it appears to be a misinterpretation of Scotch-Irish.  Scotch-Irish was coined in 1744 and generally refers to those living in the Appalachian region of the U.S.  This term came into play in the U.S. when the mass Irish immigrations occurred in the 1840s-50s.  To differentiate the Protestant Irish in the Appalachian region, they were named Scotch-Irish since the masses of recent Irish immigrants were, in fact, Irish Catholics.  The term Scots-Irish/Scot-Irish does not show up until around 1972 and appears to be a mispronunciation of its predecessor.

Why dislike the Scotch-Irish term?  It really is a misnomer.  People seem to use, or misuse, this term when they come across a surname that could be Irish or Scottish.  I have also seen the Protestant Irish in Northern Ireland referred to as Scot-Irish. I am betting they would not like to hear that since they consider themselves Irish.

I stay away from using these terms as I don't think I identify with the use of them since my ancestors were Roman Catholic.  I actually cringe now when I see Scots-Irish written and used.  I did have a discussion online with someone about the term.   She found it very confusing.  Ultimately, she indicated that there were probably prejudices that went along with the use of these terms.  I agree.

So, whatever you think of the term Scotch-Irish, bear in mind that it is misused and misunderstood by many and those labeled as such may not be fond of it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Richard Flanagan and His Wingrove Family

In the past two years, I have posted no fewer than five posts about Richard Flanagan (b. 1830) from Termonfechin who went to London.  His life seemed short to me as he passed away in 1878.  While my Flanagan Family can say we have Richard fairly well sourced and documented on our family tree, in family records, and have letters preserved that he wrote, we really did not know what had happened to his descendants, until now.

A very helpful person who lives in London and has some Flanagan's of her own in her line which could be somewhere connected to mine, sent me some research about Richard's family.  She has done this in the past as records become available.  Now, the 1911 England Census revealed two more grandchildren for Richard that we did not know about and more records have now surfaced.

The long story short is that Richard Flanagan went to London by at least 1861.  He married Maria Cutler by 1871.  In 1873, their only known child, Kathleen Anne Flanagan, was born.  By 1878, Richard had passed away.  His health had been failing him for some time. He had been employed by the Crown in customs.

Over the next several years, it would appear that Kathleen lived with her mother at times but also with her aunt, Sarah Cutler, who's married last name was Holness.  It seems clear that Kathleen was close to Sarah and her husband, Edwin.

Kathleen went onto to work for the Crown too.  She married Henry Wingrove in 1900.  They had three children - Norman Richard, Norah Kathleen, and Eric Edwin.  My previous research is included in this blog.  Up until now, this is as far as I had gotten in the research which landed me in 1911.

Name: Eric E Wingrove
Birth Date: abt 1911
Date of Registration: Oct-Nov-Dec 1930
Age at Death: 19
Registration district: Bromley
Inferred County: Kent
Volume: 2a
Page: 670

According to the death index above, Eric Edwin Wingrove died in 1930 at the age of 19 years.

Name: Henry Wingrove
Probate Date: 2 Jul 1948
Death Date: 5 May 1948
Death Place: Kent, England
Registry: London, England

Above is the probate record for Henry Wingrove, Kathleen's husband.  Further information in the record indicates that he died in the Farnborough Hospital in Kent.  Kathleen Annie Wingrove was his widow.  He left her 2,723 pounds.  Their address was 11 Rochester Avenue. 

Name: Kathleen Annie Wingrove
Probate Date: 9 Aug 1962
Death Date: 6 May 1962
Death Place: Kent, England
Registry: London, England

The next record above is for Kathleen Anne Flanagan Wingrove.  She passed away at age 88 at Farnborough Hospital in Kent.  She was still living at 11 Rochester Avenue at the time.  She left her 4,515 pounds to her two living children - Norman Richard Wingrove, an insurance broker and Norah Kathleen Wingrove, a spinster.

England & Wales, Death Index: 1916-2006 about Norah Kathleen Wingrove

Name: Norah Kathleen Wingrove
Birth Date: 29 Oct 1905
Date of Registration: Nov 1984
Age at Death: 79
Registration district: Worthing
Inferred County: West Sussex
Volume: 18
Page: 2280

Norah Kathleen Wingrove passed away in 1984.  It would appear that she never married.  She's indicated as a spinster in the will of her mother in 1962 but I wonder what she did for a living.  That categorization as "spinster" drives me crazy.  I'm sure that she was so much more than that.  I did find a possible record indicating the marriage of a Norah C Wingrove marrying a Sydney Cheeseman.  Was this a different Norah?  Why did the marriage, if this is her, not last?  At any rate, it seems 99.9% clear that Norah had no children.

England & Wales, Death Index: 1916-2006 about Norman Richard Wingrove

Name: Norman Richard Wingrove
Birth Date: 10 Mar 1902
Date of Registration: Apr-May-Jun 1979
Age at Death: 77
Registration district: Tavistock
Inferred County: Devon
Volume: 21
Page: 2094

In the next death record, we find Norman Richard Wingrove.  He too seems to have never had children.  He appears to have been married later in life as seen in the next record.

Name: Norman R Wingrove
Spouse Surname: Dawe
Date of Registration: Jan-Feb-Mar 1974
Registration district: Tavistock
Inferred County: Devonshire
Volume Number: 7a
Page Number: 1444
Find Spouse: Find Spouse

Now, was Norman married before and did he have children?  It is seemingly unlikely at this point but only time can truly tell.   I have found other Norman Wingrove's married to different women earlier than this Norman's marriage to Evelyn Dawe.  The middle initial does not match in the other records.  It seems a bit surprising that Norman would have only been married for the last 5 years of his life having never been married before.  Maybe he was married previously.   Did he have any children?  We may never know for sure but it is beginning to look like he was childless.

I have not found any other indication of Wingroves looking for this line.  Wingrove appears to be somewhat of a common surname found in London around the turn of the century.  I now end my research on this line as it appears that there are no currently living descendants of this Richard Flanagan.


Note:  Richard Flanagan, b. 1830 (d. 1878, London) at the Flanagan Family Farm in Termonfechin, Louth, Ireland, was the oldest son of John Flanagan and Anne Maguire of Termonfechin, and the older brother to my great great grandfather, Patrick Flanagan (1834-1896) of Termonfechin, Louth, Ireland and Napa, California. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Why Deviate Off Your Direct Line? - Revisited

Following Your Blood Line, or The Whole Family

Believe it or not, "choice" comes up time and time again with regards to my family tree.  I am continually presented with a new branch of my tree.  Do I follow the new branch or continue to head up the main branch to the top of my tree?  That tree, by the way, continues to grow and get "taller", if you will, as I creep back in time.

I have come across people who are growing their tree taller and fuller, wider, or overgrown as maybe my tree appears to be.  Yes, there are massive family trees out there on and on other sites online that represent hours and hours of research and "trailing off" as I call it.  Trailing off on a branch of your family tree can be quite rewarding, complicated, and distracting at times.

There are those that just grow their tree "taller" and have few branches.  It is a different choice than my own.  Many people out there choose to follow only their direct blood line.  They refrain from "trailing off" on other branches of the tree.  Sticking with this method can keep one's family tree research simple and easy to source.  It can also be rather limiting.

If you limit yourself to just your direct blood line, you might miss out on learning about communities and finding stories of how your ancestors lived with the others around them.  When the concept of community and collaboration are added to one's family tree research, the discoveries become endless.  The complexity of this approach can turn some people off, however.  The more complex a family tree, the harder it becomes to share it with others and keep their attention.
So will you lose people if you do choose a more complex approach to your tree?  Probably.  But, can you give up all of the possibilities that come with the "complex" tree?  The possibilities include, and are not limited to, finding relatives with shared research interests, finding research has already been completed, and discovering stories about a family line.

I seek stories about people.  Whether the stories are lengthy or anecdotal, I love the stories.  You never know when you might find 193 letters that were written as correspondence between family members from the U.S. to those who remained in the old country.  You never know if you might find photos of your great great grandfather that were saved by the second cousin that you've never met.  You never know what you might find, so why limit yourself.

In the 1990s, I sought my direct blood line.  That was interesting and all that I had time for, or made time for, back then.  Now, I seek the clusters of people.  It's the way that I have found my female family members but also the stories of the people and the communities in which they lived.  From the Irish Settlement in Newport, New York to my Flanagan's of Termonfechin, discoveries abound from my complex family tree.

From my perspective, seeking the whole family is the way to go.  I have found relatives who have what I refer to as living memories of those who came before us, those whom they knew.  Limiting myself is not in the game plan when it comes to my family tree.  I'll continue to allow my family tree to lead me up or down different branches as they present themselves and offer an interesting story.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Rerun Friday - What's in your backyard? - The California State Library

"What's in your backyard? - 900 N Street, Sacramento, CA" was my original post about the California State Library posted on Thursday, November 18, 2010.

900 N Street, Sacramento, CA, is located about 9.2 miles from my front door. Sometimes you never fully realize what resources are located in your own "backyard" when it comes to genealogy. 900 N Street is the current location of the California State Library. It is across the street from the historical state library on Capitol Mall which is currently undergoing revonations until 2013.

For a somewhat temporary location, 900 N Street is pretty awesome and modern. Most of the library collection had existed in the "old library". 900 N Street houses, and has for quite a number of years housed, the California History Collection. The key with the California history portion of the library is that the collection is on site. The rest of the library is packed up in warehouses somewhere in West Sacramento during the main renovation.

I was amazed by a few things about this library. First and foremost, it is a good size and modern but the building is also occupied by the appellate courts. The lobby area is rather grand and looks like a modern museum. Parking downtown is rather dismal as usual but there are public parking garages nearby within walking distance. The "big deal" is that this place is free just like any other library.

The librarians are onsite to assist you but they do other research for the State of California at the same time. One catch to this place is that unless you are an employee of the State of California, you can't check out the books. The librarians indicated to me that the library is mainly for research. Apparently, people use this location for genealogy research but also writers come there to do their research.

My goal was to locate this library and find the book that contains the mini-bio from 1891 about M. Flanagan (Michael Flanagan). The copy that I have is becoming faded. I wanted a new copy plus the opportunity to see what this library has in store for my research. Within about 20 minutes of getting myself acclimated to this library, I found the book that I was looking for with much assistance from the librarians. The book was in the back marked "fragile". This book is over 100 years old. They allowed me to view it and make photocopies of a few pages.

While trying to locate this book, I looked in their card catalog. It is the real deal when it comes to card catalogs and not computerized as many card catalogs are these days. It is a piece of wood furniture with drawers, cards and all. I went to the drawer that had Flanagan in it. While looking for Michael Flanagan, I also found Joaquin Joseph Flanagan (Corning, CA) and Leo J. Flanagan (Burlingame, CA). I did not have time to fetch the books that contain information about the two of them but I know with some certainty that these two gentlemen are also my relatives.

My success in finding the book with Michael Flanagan included gave me hope in finding more information at that library. The librarian indicated that they also have a photo collection. There exists the possibility that the state may have photos of my relatives. I certainly need to check on my McLaughlin's in this library too. I definitely found Michael Flanagan.

I had limited time to spend at the library that day plus I had my two year old in tow. She was good for about the first 45 minutes and then it was time to get going out of there. My research is there for another day and when I am by myself!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012 DNA Beta - Mixed Results

Instead of submitting my own DNA to which would have likely produced the results of "British Isles", "Central Europe" (Germany included), and "Scandinavia", I decided that any new and interesting finds in our family roots and origins might actually be on my husband's side of the family.

With the legend of a Native American back in his heritage, we submitted his DNA for testing.  What we found was rather unsurprising and seemingly uninteresting at first glance.

-74% British Isles
-16% Central Europe
-10% Uncertain

We had pretty much pegged his origins as 70% Irish and Scottish.  I suppose some English is in there too bringing his DNA up to 74% from that part of the world.  We did not find any Scandinavian DNA in his results at this time.  Sometimes that can be surprising given the Viking influence in the British Isles and, in particular, in Ireland.

Given our very German last name, I was rather taken back that he is only 16% Central Europe.  So while we live with a German last name, we are both around three quarters (no DNA proof for me yet) British Isles.  He's mainly Scottish/Irish and I'm Irish.  We've both been able to trace that back in time for the most part.  In Germany, we both know where our ancestors originate too.

The 10% "Uncertain" leaves us scratching our heads.   What are the testers uncertain of?   Were they uncertain of a potential Native American match or some other origins.  My husband was hoping that that this DNA test would either eliminate or confirm his "American Indian" heritage.  Now, we are still left wondering.

I must admit that my husband does not really look Irish at all.  He looks to be German and maybe some rugged Scottish.  If his DNA proved to be Native American, we would not be surprised at all.  Appearances aside, you just never can tell.

In reviewing the "Beta" DNA for, we must remember that this is in its infancy. is gathering DNA and putting it into a database to help people find blood relatives.  In fact, the test results found a potential DNA match of a 4th or 5th cousin for my husband with 95% certainly.   That's a pretty distant cousin if you ask me.  We actually could not find any surname matches on that person's tree right now.  Will we find a closer relative once more DNA is collected?

It becomes a waiting game.  Any Beta test works that way.   As more and more people order the DNA test, more matches will form, and a more definitive origin can result.  The 10% of uncertain for my husband could shrink over time providing a more exact ethnicity.

I'm certainly game to see what happens.  Once opens up the DNA tests to everyone, I will submit mine too.  For now, the solo invite was used for my husband.  It has generated quite a bit of interest in his family. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Francis Raymond McLaughlin

A few months ago, I logged onto and found someone pulling over some information about Francis Raymond McLaughlin.  I sent them a message but did not hear back. In fact, I could tell that they were not pursuing their McLaughlin line and just Francis' wife's line.  This particular Frank McLaughlin appears to not have really been a family man.  I suppose that his reputation as such has trickled down some to his descendants.  Maybe someday they will be interested in finding out about their McLaughlin line.  In the meantime,  I'm post what I have about this particular Frank McLaughlin, son of James McLaughlin and Julia Mahoney.   His connection to me is that he was my great grandmother's first cousin.

The following research was completed by George Capes.  It may not be in the best format but for anyone looking for this particular Frank McLaughlin, it is as good as gold for them.

FRANCIS  RAYMOND  McLAUGHLIN, b. 03 Sep 1876 in Newport, NY.; d. on 12 May 1931 and was bur. 15 May 1931 at Austin, Lander Co., NV. Frank was brought back east to Newport, NY, after his mother died in 1891, to be raised by his uncle and aunt, Michael  and Mary McLaughlin. He continued school and work-ed on Uncle Michael’s farm until after his 16th. birthday. 
            In a correspondence from his father, James, to his mother’s sister, Katherine (Mahoney) Biche, dated 10 Aug 1891, James states: “I do not think now I shall return this fall as I expected. Frank writes me that I could not make a living there and he is ‘dissadisfide’ with the country, and says that Mike don’t seem to want him to have him stay there. He wants to come back here. I wrote him, Frank, I would send him $100. the first of Sep. and to come here. The boy wants to be doing something for himself. I shall try my best to send him to school here. If he had 2 years more he would be a good ‘schollar’. He learns easy and fast.“ 
     It’s not determined when Frank returned to Austin, NV, but he became a lead and silver miner in later years, living in Austin and also in Boise, ID.  One old-timer      Austin,    who knew Frank, reported that he was quite tall and thin. His nicknames were ‘Slim’ and ‘Highpockets’.

The next news of Frank appears in the ‘Reese River Reveille”, the local newspaper in Austin, NV, dated 10 Feb 1917:  “AUSTINITES TAKE LEASE ON CAMP’S OLDEST PROPERTY.” “ Frank McLaughlin and George Gordon have taken a lease on a vein system on the Austin                Extension claim, known as the old Highland Mary property, owned by the Nevada Equity Mines Company.”
Shortly  thereafter, on 17 Mar 1917, Frank continues in the news:  “709 OUNCE ORE IN HIGHLAND MARY.” – “Gordon and McLaughlin, leasers on the Highland Mary lode property of the Nevada Equity Mines Co., have struck some high grade silver ore which closely resembles the surface high grade found on Lander Hill.  An assay taken from across the vein where first struck yielded 709 ounces in silver.”
Again, on 07 Apr 1917, the newspaper reads:  “GORDON & McLAUGHLIN TO MAKE SHIPMENT.” – “A shipment of fifteen tons of ore will go forward early this week to the smeltery from the Gordon and McLaughlin lease on the Highland Mary lode. The ore body carries a high percentage of lead and silver. The silver is being mined separately.”
No other information on Frank appears until the following date:  Saturday, 16 May 1931; “Car Over The Bank Results in Death of F. R. McLaughlin.” (He was thrown from the car and the body was discovered near the wreckage). “ It was discovered that the body was that of Frank R. McLaughlin, who was raised in Austin and for years has been a well-known miner and prospector in this vicinity. The body of McLaughlin was terribly mangled and there were a number of injuries, any of which might apparently have been the cause of death. “  An excerpt from his obituary on Saturday, 23 May 1931 reads as follows:  “ The funeral of Frank R. McLaughlin, who lost his life in the terrible plunge of an auto into the gorge of Pony Canyon on Tuesday night last, took place on the following Friday from the mortuary establishment of  H. A. Kearns. Frank McLaughlin had many friends and a large number of them were present at the interment.  The deceased was aged 54 years. He was the son of James McLaughlin, who came here with his wife and children nearly fifty years ago. Young Frank for some years lived with Father Phelan, who was in charge of the Catholic Church in Austin at that time. His mother died here and is buried in the Austin cemetery. When he was about 14 years old his father took him, with his brothers George and Fred and a sister (Mary Etta), (and an infant brother, James "Jay") all of whom are said to be surviving, back to (The Irish Settlement, Newport, Herkimer County,) New York and he did not come back to Austin until about 1918. Since that time he was engaged in mining and prospecting in this vicinity and made Austin his home. He at one time lived in Boise, Idaho, where he married and where a son and his mother (Lottie Haggerty) still live.”

Friday, October 12, 2012

Rerun Friday - O'Napa

"O'Napa" was originally posted on Tuesday, November 16, 2010

O'Napa the secrets and stories you hold. Those Irish and German families O mine were there and now almost gone. Wine is your crop but my prize is my family line. From Alta Heights to Carneros, from Spencer Street to the Salvador Area, you hold history of a simpler time.

Those Vienop's farmed fruit orchards and knew cigars. Those McLaughlin's knew dairy and sold milk. The Flanagan's were the ultimate farmers with dairy, vegetable crops, and grapes. Vino of Carneros did not have quite the same meaning as today but the reputation was growing at the time.

The Flanagan's, McLaughlin's, and Maxwell's brought with them their Irish Catholic heritage as farmers in the Napa Valley. My Vienop's and Borchers' brought with them their farming skills and Lutheran religion.

Times have changed some but family ties still carry my heart to Napa.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Rerun Friday - Networking

"Networking" was originally posted on Thursday, October 28, 2010

In my quest to trace my family tree, I have found networking with others to be a key to my success. While message boards are sometimes a futile source of information, the sheer contacts that can be made reviewing them can make the tour of these seemingly timeconsuming posts worth it.

The Member Connect option on is a networking tool designed to bring people together who are seeking the same family tree information. I find it to be quite effective. How else would I have found my McLaughlin's, Maxwell's, and other descendants of Jack and Minnie Flanagan.

Another rather interesting consequence that can arise out of reviewing Member Connect is that you might find relatives or college professors borrowing your information. I like to refer to it as "snooping around". I mean that with the utmost respect, with a little humor thrown in, and as the bold researcher that I have become can appreciate that method. The boldness is what gets you connected,  can even connect a college professor to the owner of some source documents or letters, plus more stories of those who lived before us.

So I continue with my ultimate attempt at networking which includes this blog, my website, my Facebook site for this blog, and my internal network of family and relatives who have gathered and shared their research about our family lines. I look upon my information online as a respository for anyone who is connected to my family tree or just interested in reading about my quest for more information about my ancestors.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Catholic Church Not Sharing

I don't usually use my blog to talk about religion and politics and I'm not planning to continue to do so in the future.  Even this post does not have much to do with politics from a governmental standpoint.  It does have to do with politics of religion and the consequence it has on genealogy.  I hesitated briefly on posting something so controversial but then I decided to post this anyway.

As to no surprise, the Catholic Church does not like the Mormons (Latter-Day-Saints).  That's probably not a real shocker for anyone who pays attention to these two religions and how they interact (or rather don't interact).

In 2008, the Catholic Church told the LDS Church that they couldn't have their records.  HA!  Now, you LDS can't try to baptize those faithfully departed.  As I read through the online article called "Vatican Orders Catholic Parish Registers Off-Limits to the LDS Church", I had to question what the heck the Catholic Church is thinking.

As a practicing Catholic and with twelve years of Catholic School under my belt, I find that I have a broader perspective on the church and its teachings than your everyday church goer.  Sometimes I don't agree with everything they teach by the way.  Choice and thinking for myself is probably why I am still Catholic.  If there is one thing that those Dominican Nuns taught me, it was to think for myself and seek the truth. 

The truth of the matter in Catholic Genealogy is that church records are spread out all over parishes and you have visit each one to find what you are looking for.   How antiquated and frustrating for the non-LDS genealogist.  That's me!  I have a whole family tree full of Roman Catholics along with a few Lutherans.  I guess the Catholic Church does not think share and share alike is appropriate with church records.

The Vatican's point with ordering Catholic parishes to hold back their records baffles me a bit.  The basis of their denial is so that the faithfully departed Catholics cannot be posthumously baptized in the LDS Church by proxy.

My goal here is not to poke too much fun at or disgrace either church.  Instead, I am noting what I think is unreasonable.  The Catholic Church does not want to share their records for fear that dead people will be converted to LDS.  This insinuates that the Church puts stock in what the LDS believe in that you can baptize dead people.   

I find the refusal of the Catholic Church to share church records with the LDS repository to be quite stifling.  It makes my job in completing my family tree so much tougher.  I completely respect and appreciate that the LDS Church has preserved so much family history and records.

I never did hear back from that Catholic Church in Brooklyn, New York which holds the key to my past ancestors in their church records.  I pray everyday that church does not burn down.  It's the only place where those records exist.  I hope to get there someday and hope that the Catholic Church comes up with a better plan for genealogy for all Roman Catholics.  We need a solution that gets to the main point of all of this --- proving one's family tree and finding your roots.  Mine are mostly Roman Catholic!